Ady McIntosh and Ruby Park Eastwick winners of the Pat Slater Cup for 2007. The new Quilty Gold Cup in the case with the replica on the right and the silver one is the Pat Slater Cup.
Nanjing Night Net

JUNE 2014 is going to be a mammoth and exciting month for Wagin.

Wagin has been chosen to host the annual Tom Quilty Gold Cup Endurance Ride, a prestigious event that will put Wagin on the map.

Not only will local riders be competing, but there will also be interstate and overseas competitors, as well as national and international dignitaries in town for the event.

The Quilty Gold Cup is held annually with each state having a turn, roughly every seven years.

The Quilty originated in 1966 after R.M. Williams the editor of Hoofs and Horns magazine heard about the Tevis Cup endurance ride in the USA.

This inspired him to start a long distance endurance ride in Australia.

The inaugural 160-kilometre (100 miles) ride was held in the Hawkesbury area near Sydney in New South Wales.

R.M. Williams approached his good friend Tom Quilty a respected and talented horseman and cattleman from Spring Vale station in the Kimberley.

Williams asked his friend for support and Quilty gave him $1000, which was used to make the gold cup for the winner of the ride.

The gold cup resides in the Stockman’s Hall of Fame in Longreach, Queensland.

The Quilty also has the Tom Quilty Buckle, which all entrants who complete the course in the 24- hour time period will receive.

The idea of the ‘Buckle’ started off very slowly as it was more about the gold cup, but it didn’t take long for that to change and the buckle is a very much coveted item to earn for all the hard work and preparation put in by those competitors able to finish the course.

The Quilty is known by two distinguishing facts; it is a 100 mile ride, and even now some 46 years after the first ride, it is still referred to as the 100 miler.

The other unusual fact is that the ride always starts at midnight and finishes 24 hours later at midnight.

Planning for an event such as the Quilty is a massive undertaking and doesn’t happen overnight.

Anita Lunt, the course director and initial proposer of the event along with sponsorship organiser from the Australian Endurance Riders Association Kristy Rae recently met with shire representatives Carolyn Webster and Sue Dowson to start discussions on the preparations Wagin needs to undertake in order to be ready for 2014.

“The shire is right behind the Quilty, we believe this will showcase Wagin as it is such a significant event,” Mrs Webster said.

“We are very excited as this is a first for Wagin to host such an event, and we hope the town will embrace the Quilty.”

Endurance riding is a growing sport and also one that is very family orientated, as all members of the family are able to take part.

In this sport it really is a level playing field, as both men and women are on an even par, because in the end it comes down to your fitness, your horses fitness and the connection you have with your horse.

At this stage there are about 150-250 starters from Australia, Italy, France, Malaysia, the Middle East and the USA.

As well as the ride itself, there will be a trade expo and a large social scene, which will provide a good opportunity for any clubs or committees in Wagin that would like to participate by organising catering.

As this is such a large event with many visitors to our town that will need to be fed, the catering can be spread among many different groups.

The ride will start and finish at the showgrounds and the course will be run over five legs.

At the completion of each leg the horses are thoroughly vet checked to ensure they are still in top physical condition in order to continue on with the next leg.

WA riders will be able to have a sneak preview of the Quilty course when Wagin hosts the State Championships in September next year.

These championships are a qualifying round in the lead up to the Quilty.

“Without the backing of the shire and the invaluable help and contribution from our local farmers and landholders, an event of this magnitude would not be able to happen,” Mrs Lunt said.

“We are proud to think we were chosen because of the generosity of our local farmers and the way in which they have embraced this event.”

An event of this size is going to require many willing volunteers, for a mind boggling number of jobs.

If anyone in the community is interested in catering, volunteering their time, rug and buckle sponsorship opportunities, offering their home for accommodation to the many visitors who will descend on our town or for any general inquiries about the Quilty, then initial enquiries can be made to Anita Lunt on 9861 1334.

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